Two Des Moines police officers were gunned down early this morning in what was described as an ambush killing.
This follows a deadly weekend in Chicago, the most recent indication of the soaring violence in the city. There have been 614 murders in the city so far this year — more than in New York and Los Angeles combined and the highest number in over a decade.
Law enforcement workers are well aware of the risks of being a police officer, and injuries or deaths are not unheard of in the line of duty. According to preliminary statistics from the FBI, 41 officers were killed feloniously and an additional 45 were killed in accidents in 2015, down from the year before. Only four of these police killings were the result of premeditated ambushes.
The Des Moines metro area is not an especially safe place for residents either. The region’s violent crime rate of 714 per 100,000 people is considerably higher than the national rate of 373 per 100,000. The metro’s murder rate of 9.0 per 100,000 is close to double the national murder rate of 4.9 per 100,000.
Nationwide, while the number of homicides declined for several years after 2008, it has risen in recent years. There were 15,696 murders in 2015, up by 7.1% from 2011 and 10.8% from 2014. The violence is concentrated in certain U.S. cities. Based on the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 25 American cities with the highest murder rates. Although Chicago has been making the news, it is St. Louis that leads the nation with nearly 60 murders reported for every 100,000 city residents in 2015.